In a consultation with a Professional Editing and Writing faculty, we met to discuss the progress the faculty was making in their course development of a new online course being offered by their department.
As befitting a writing subject matter expert, the writing strategy was very well done, and I commended the faculty on the use of white spaces to create a pleasing outline for reading the various content material. While this may seem to be a trivial matter, it does address accessibility and universal design; techniques critical to full access of education for all. We also discussed how important it was for the technology not to get in the way of their teaching but to support the delivery and enable the students to experience a pedagogical environment conducive to effective transfer of knowledge.
As part of the professional editing and writing discipline, there is a community and conference comprising college composition and communication where best practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI) has been adopted by this community of educators. Along with the OWI best practices, there is a statement of principles and effective strategies which has been developed creating a guide which addresses pedagogy, institutional level concerns, teacher concerns, and research.
Taking a look at these strategies reminds me of the need to adhere to and aspire to standards that hopefully will promote a commitment by teachers, students, and higher educational institutions to quality and rigor in education.
The principles and practices of the OWI are divided into five sections. These are:
- An overarching principle
- Instructional principles
- Focus on writing
- Appropriate composition teaching/learning strategies
- Appropriate onsite composition theories, pedagogies, and strategies
- Online writing teachers should retain reasonable control over their own content
- Alternative, self-paced, or experimental OWI models should be subject to the same principles
- Faculty principles
- Online writing teachers should receive appropriate OWI-focused training
- Online writing teachers should receive fair and equitable compensation
- OWCs should be capped responsibly at 20 students per course with 15 being a preferable number
- Institutional principles
- Students should be prepared by the institution and their teachers
- Develop personalized and interpersonal online communities
- Foster teacher satisfaction in online writing courses
- OWI students should be provided support
- Online writing lab administrators and tutors should undergo selection, training, and ongoing professional development
- Research and exploration
- OWI/OWL administrators and teachers/tutors should be committed to ongoing research
I encourage you to read these principles and the examples provided for effective practices which addresses pedagogy and teacher concerns. References and definitions is also provided to support the understanding of the principles.
Does your discipline and community have similar principles and strategies that can be a guide for your online course development and delivery?